Indications for Aspirin
Chances are, you are probably already aware of what aspirin does, if not already have a bottle of it in your medicine cabinet, but you might not have heard that it can help your pets in much the same way it helps you. Aspirin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), meaning that it helps decrease swelling, thereby reducing the irritation caused by said swelling (i.e., headaches, joint pain, fevers, clotting).
Important note: this drug may be over the counter for use in people, but you should still contact your vet before giving your pet anything specifically made for people.
Precautions for Aspirin
Just because this medication is so readily available, does not mean that it is free of risk. Usage of this drug in cats needs to be stringent and carefully monitored, as cats are not able to metabolize the drug as well as dogs or people. Aspirin should not be taken by patients with GI ulcers, hemorrhagic disorders, asthma, von Willebrand’s disease, hepatic failure, or renal insufficiency. Pregnant pets should not take aspirin during the last stages of their pregnancy due to teratogenic effects. Pets with hypoalbuminemia should take a lesser dose to prevent toxicity. Pets going in for surgery should stop taking aspirin a week before going under.
Aspirin may have antagonistic effects on the uricosuric properties in probenecid or sulfinpyrazone. Aminoglycoside antibiotics may increase the risk of nephrotoxicity when taken with aspirin. Taking aspirin with anticoagulants may increase the risk of bleeding. Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors might cause systemic acidosis, toxicity, and an increase in CNS levels of salicylate when taken with aspirin. Increased risk of GI ulceration when taking aspirin with corticosteroids. Other NSAIDs might also increase the risk of GI ulceration. Urinary acidifying agents reduce the kidneys ability to flush, increasing the risk of toxicity, while urinary alkalinizers do the opposite, causing the kidney to work overtime.
Aspirin may decrease the vasodilation effects of captopril or enalapril, Decreased clearance caused by aspirin might cause digoxin levels to increase. Aspirin might increase the hypoglycemic effects of insulin. Taking aspirin with metoclopramide can cause an increased absorption of aspirin, resulting in an aspirin overdose. Consult with your vet regarding any other reactions that might result from taking aspirin.
Side Effects for Aspirin
Aspirin has been known to irritate the gastrointestinal tract, which can result in blood loss, vomiting, anorexia, and even hypoproteinemia. More rare side effects include seizures, coma, or an irreversible effect on platelet aggregation. Damage to unborn children can occur if taking aspirin to late into the pregnancy.
For dogs, aspirin can sometimes cause a gastric carcinoma, or a general hypersensitivity. In cats, hypersensitivity is common, as they are generally sensitive to salicylates, so dosages should be given out carefully.
Dosage for Aspirin
Dogs - 10 - 35 mg/kg orally, 2 - 3 times a day.
Cat - 6 - 10 mg/kg orally, every 48 - 72 hours. Carefully monitor the dosage for cats, and their reaction to it, as they are very sensitive to this type of drug.
Brand/Generic Equivalent of Aspirin
Bayer Aspirin, Vetrin